EML In Real Time: Nikko Dumrique

Meet Nikko, a 4th year physics major and work learn student at EML. For Nikko, working at EML helped narrow down his career goals and gain experience with new tools! To find out more about Nikko’s role at EML, check out the interview below!

Hannah: What is your role at EML, or what do you do on a typical day?

Nikko: My role at the lab is as a developer, mostly software, but at the meeting I attended a few minutes ago, I was doing some of the UX design with some of my teammates. I usually code for most of my days, of course I attend meetings, but mostly coding.

H: Are you working on a specific project?

N: Currently I am working on 3D metabolism, but I’ve been with EML for a while so I’ve worked on other projects like Interactive Orchestra and Chatsim as a volunteer.

H: What types of things would you say you value most about working at EML, or what is your favorite part of the work you do?

N: My favourite part is just that I get to work with new things that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with from my degree. Cause mostly in physics I work with theoretical stuff and just numbers in general, but here I get to use my knowledge I’ve learnt in class and apply it to new and emerging things that we are doing at EML.

H: What are some of the important skills you’ve gained from working at EML?

N: A lot of agile work, so managing or working in sprints, and meeting deadlines, and using agile ideology is pretty useful. Other technical skills would be learning GIT and how to version control your code.

H: What are some of the challenges or obstacles you’ve faced working at EML? How have you overcome them?

N: I guess I have a few of these, but one of the bigger ones was managing school and EML. Especially when you get stuck with bugs and what not in your code, or even just learning what platform you are going to be coding in with the project, it does take a lot of time. Sometimes work and school overlaps and it feels like there’s a lot on the plate, but that helped me learn how to manage my day and how to schedule it such that everything’s not a mess.

H: How do you like the community at EML? And how has transitioning online affected you?

N: So when I was first starting off as a volunteer, my initial thought of EML was like “oh it’s a lab”, so it is going to be pretty formal, but working at EML, it’s pretty informal in the sense that there’s no real, strict hierarchy. Before Covid, just walking into the lab, everyone there is your friend and you’re not tied down by titles, where “you’re just a volunteer” and what not- it’s more a community. Especially at our Wednesday check-in meetings, there is opportunity to talk about new things and what people are working on, so getting that insight and spinning ideas around with people just makes it feel like you’re on this big team and you’re working together on projects all around- that is something I really like because it really enforces that sense of community. During Covid, even though everything’s online, I’d say that this community did a pretty good job at holding all of these values in the sense that you still feel like you’re a part of something and working towards these goals you have and all these projects.

H: How has your time at EML influenced your future plans, studies, career goals, or general hobbies?

N: Starting off University I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to do something technical but there’s such a broad range of what ‘technical’ is. EML allowed me to not commit too much, but gain experience in something that I might go into and, yeah, when stepping into EML, and getting this experience I really narrowed down my career path, or a sense of what I wanted to do. It helped me focus on what career paths I want to take, so I plan after graduating to move towards a developer field because I really enjoyed working on these projects and getting to work with different projects every other term.

H: Is there anything else you’d like to say that wasn’t covered?

N: I’d say that EML gave me a lot of tools that I wouldn’t have learnt otherwise in my field and apply them in a professional manner, and I think that’s pretty important. Especially as a student, you don’t get many opportunities in your education to apply these unless you do Co-op. Especially if you’re a work learn or volunteer [at EML], you get the co-op experience even though you are still studying, so I think that is a pretty big plus.

If you’re interested in getting involved with EML, check out our student opportunities here, come to our drop-in hours, or send an email to emergingmedia.lab@ubc.ca.